Dec 052015

Alexander Ochs, published as Worldwatch Institute blog

Many of us still remember the images from the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, which was launched as “Hopenhagen” with great expectations and concluded in the “Flopenhagen” fiasco: the disappointment of freezing environmentalists lining up in front of the Bella Convention Center; the desperate faces of exhausted negotiators; the Danish sherpas trying to argue small successes in the summit’s failure.

But America’s political superstars would not succeed if they didn’t manage to emerge as winners, even in moments of defeat. U.S. president Barack Obama somehow thwarted the image of Europeans marked by the poor results of months of negotiations. Obama flew in to Copenhagen by helicopter, cut through the icy Scandinavian winds toward the conference venue, and assembled those around him whom he decided were the chosen few.

It is this other image that we conjure up when remembering Copenhagen: the U.S. president, with his sleeves rolled up, surrounded by the representatives of Brazil, China, India, and South Africa. The message: “We saved what could be saved.” But to anyone familiar enough with the negotiations to look behind the façade, this image actually showed those who had sabotaged the ambitious plans of Europeans and their coalition of “more willing but less mighty.” The picture was deceptive: What was rescued was not the climate, the environment, or sustainable development, but a minimal consensus to continue talking. After that, the world became relatively silent on climate diplomacy. But the talking did continue, and it led to much more progress than could have been expected shortly after Copenhagen.

Continue reading »

A Tragedy with a Happy Ending? The United States before the Climate Summit in Paris

 presentation, Uncategorized  Comments Off on A Tragedy with a Happy Ending? The United States before the Climate Summit in Paris
Nov 132015

Worldwatch & REN 21 Policy Briefing 2013

 presentation  Comments Off on Worldwatch & REN 21 Policy Briefing 2013
Apr 252013

U.S. Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ), the Worldwatch Institute, and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) held a policy briefing on the status and future of renewable energy in the United States and around the world.

Featuring commentary by:

Mohamed El-Ashry, Senior Fellow, UN Foundation
Christine Lins, Executive Secretary, REN21
Eric Martinot, Author, Renewables Global Futures Report
Alexander Ochs, Director of Climate and Energy, Worldwatch Institute

You can find the event announcement [here]

Amid Gloomy Climate News, Doha Talks Enter Final Week

 online interview, radio interview  Comments Off on Amid Gloomy Climate News, Doha Talks Enter Final Week
Dec 042012
Rosanne Skirble

December 04, 2012

High level officials from more than 200 countries are in Doha, Qatar, for talks that began last week on the next steps after the Kyoto Protocol, the U.N. climate change treaty expires this year. The ministers arrive in the face of bad news for the planet. A spate of new scientific studies finds worldwide greenhouse gas emissions rising and ice sheets melting rapidly, and predicts a planetary warming of as much as five degrees Celsius by the end of this century unless nations act immediately to reduce their industrial emissions of CO2 and other climate-changing greenhouse gases.  (…)
While hopes are high that the U.S. will take the lead in Doha with new emission pledges, some experts doubt if the Obama Administration has the political support at home to significantly alter its climate policies.  Alexander Ochs, an energy and climate analyst with the World Watch Institute in Doha says the U.S. has its hands bound.
“On the one hand, having this high expectation here of other countries that the United States should be  in a leadership role and on the other hand not being able to move more ambitiously to fulfill those targets and those commitments because of domestic resistance.”
Find the full article [here] and on VOA Online.
You can find the full radio report [here].

Obama und Romney ignorieren die Klimafrage – Folgen der Erderwärmung spielen im US-Wahlkampf keine Rolle

 newspaper interview  Comments Off on Obama und Romney ignorieren die Klimafrage – Folgen der Erderwärmung spielen im US-Wahlkampf keine Rolle
Nov 022012

Von Gregor Waschinski

Washington, 2. November (AFP) – Für einen kurzen Moment lenkte New Yorks Bürgermeister Michael Bloomberg die Aufmerksamkeit auf ein Thema von globaler Bedeutung, das im US-Wahlkampf bislang unterging. Nach dem zerstörerischen Sturm “Sandy” warnte er vor den Gefahren des Klimawandels – und rief zur Wahl von Präsident Barack Obama auf, weil dieser sich anders als Herausforderer Mitt Romney im Kampf gegen die Erderwärmung engagiere. Doch die Wähler sorgen sich stärker um die steigende Arbeitslosigkeit als um steigende Meeresspiegel. (…)

“Der Klimawandel hat im Wahlkampf so gut wie keine Rolle gespielt”, erklärt Alexander Ochs, Direktor des Klima- und Energieprogramms der Washingtoner Denkfabrik Worldwatch Institute. Die Gefechte der beiden Kandidaten in der Energiepolitik seien kaum mit dem Klimaproblem in Verbindung gebracht worden. “Es wurde wirtschaftspolitisch und mit dem Ziel der Energieunabhängigkeit argumentiert”, sagt er.

Ochs ist skeptisch, dass “Sandy” zu einem Umdenken in der US-Politik führen wird. Immerhin sei es nicht das erste verheerende Unwetter gewesen, das die USA heimgesucht habe. “Allein 2012 gab es vernichtende Stürme, Überschwemmungen, Waldbrände, und eine Jahrhundertdürre – alles Wetterphänomene, die mit dem Klimawandel in Verbindung gebracht werden”, sagt er.

Anfang Oktober rief ein Gruppe von Wissenschaftlern Romney und Obama in einem offenen Brief auf, sich in ihren drei Fernsehduellen auch mit den Herausforderungen des Klimawandels auseinanderzusetzen. Ihre Bitte wurde nicht erhört. Erstmals seit Ende der 80er Jahre bestritten die Kandidaten ihre TV-Debatten, ohne ein einziges Wort über die Klimapolitik zu verlieren.

REN21 Renewables 2012 Global Status Report: North America Focus

 presentation  Comments Off on REN21 Renewables 2012 Global Status Report: North America Focus
Sep 042012

Presented by Clean Energy Solutions Center, REN21, and Leonardo Energy | September 4, 2012

Vickie Healey – Moderator
Christine Lins – Presenter
Alexander Ochs- Presenter

[Please find my presentation, given jointly with my colleague Evan Musolino, HERE]

US Energy Production Facing Limits of Water Scarcity

 online interview  Comments Off on US Energy Production Facing Limits of Water Scarcity
Jan 082012

Zulima Palacio, Voice of America, January 08, 2012 7:00 PM

Scientists, climatologists and energy experts share a growing concern: the need for water in the production of energy, especially in regions that are experiencing serious drought.  Generating power – whether it be from fossil fuels or renewable energy sources – requires large amounts of water.

Nearly all forms of energy production use large amounts of water.  Coal, which generates nearly 50 percent of the electricity in the U.S., needs water for mining and transport, and to cool and lubricate equipment. Water is also used to cool fuel rods at nuclear plants and to generate steam to power  turbines. The biofuel industry needs water for irrigation, fermentation and the production of ethanol and biodiesel fuels.

Alexander Ochs, director of climate and energy at the Worldwatch Institute, says that adds up to a lot of water. “Per megawatt hour, coal uses 500 to 1000 gallons of water for the production of just one megawatt hour of electricity,” said Ochs. “If we look at all the plants combined in the U.S., all the thermo-electric plants [powered by steam] in the U.S. in 2008 alone, they drew 60 billion to 170 billion gallons of water, per year.”

Without water, most types of energy could not be produced. Even renewable energy, like geothermal and solar, use water to cool equipment and to clean the collector panels.  Those requirements have led California, Massachusetts and several Midwestern states to halt the operations of some power plants.“Places like the Midwest where water is a very scarce resource already today, a number of power plants have actually been halted, and this is actually true for across the United States,” said Ochs.

[please find the full article HERE]

United States climate policy: what’s next? epa regulations as an alternative pathway to comprehensive federal action?

 academic article/report  Comments Off on United States climate policy: what’s next? epa regulations as an alternative pathway to comprehensive federal action?
Dec 012011

Camille Serre (Sciences Po), Emmanuel Guérin (IDDRI), Alexander Ochs (Worldwatch) 

Working Paper published by IDDRI, Worldwatch Institute & SciencePo, December 2011,

The United States finds itself in a schizophrenic situation: its domestic climate policy has clearly been in a stalemate since the Congress failed to adopt comprehensive climate and energy legislation in 2010. On the  other hand, U.S. delegates confirmed the target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 17% by 2020 compared to 2005 levels at the  Cancún UN climate summit in December 2010. How then will the U.S. fulfill its international obligations without being able to reach a consensus at home? While climate policies at state and regional levels show some encouraging signs, the extent to which the diffusion of climate initiatives across states could gain momentum is still uncertain.

Shifting back from a market-based approach to a command-and-control approach, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulations seem to be the only viable improvement at the federal level. The EPA set exante GHG emissions standards for a given pollutant by industry sector, based on available and cost-efficient technologies. And it also provides not directly GHG-related regulations which could indirectly help the U.S. curb its GHG emissions trajectory.

Yet, in a highly politicized context, EPA regulations are only a second best option, which cannot make up for comprehensive Congress-adopted climate policy in the long-run: it is doubtful that they can alone manage to trigger a relevant infrastructure change. Technological and emissions standards are one piece of the required policy mix, and should be backed up by complementary policies. But in the current tense, partisan and unpredictable context, no clear investment signals can be sent to shift to a low-carbon economy.

[Find the whole paper HERE]

Policy Briefing: REN21’s Global Status Report

 presentation  Comments Off on Policy Briefing: REN21’s Global Status Report
Nov 112011

The Worldwatch Institute cordially invites you to attend a discussion on the state of renewable energy worldwide.

Policy Briefing: REN21’s Global Status Report

Hosted by:
U.S. Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ)

U.S. Representative Edward Markey (D-MA)

Mohamed T. El-Ashry
REN21 Committee Chairman

Alexander Ochs
Worldwatch’s Director of Climate and Energy

Event Date: November 15, 2011 – 1:00pm
Location: Capitol Visitor Center: Congressional Meeting Room— North #268
[Please find a video of the whole event HERE; Highlights from Rep. Markey’s comments can be found HERE and from Rep. Holt’s speech HERE; my ppt presentation is HERE]

Solar Homes Offer New Hope for Renewable Energy

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Solar Homes Offer New Hope for Renewable Energy
Oct 042011

Three-year-old Henry Shales, visiting from New York, takes a close look at a solar panel on display at the DOE Solar Decathlon 2011. / Credit:Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

WASHINGTON, Oct 4, 2011 (IPS) – As a light drizzle fell Saturday, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu pointed to solar houses constructed by students on the National Mall park in Washington as evidence that the U.S can compete internationally in the renewable energy market to create jobs and win “the war against climate change”.


Alexander Ochs, director of the energy and climate programme at the WorldWatch Institute, said the solar industry was actually one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S., with 5,000 companies employing more than 100,000 people. He said Solyndra failed because it made poor investment decisions and was buffeted by price fluctuations in the raw materials market – not because solar power industry is in trouble.  “Solyndra is now used as a scandal to set an example that solar is not working in the U.S. or that it cannot compete on the international market. It is basically used as an attempt to kill the industry as a whole,” Ochs told IPS.

In fact, Ochs said the solar industry grew at a rate of 69 percent in the last year alone, more than doubling in size, and at a rate much higher than the fossil fuel industry, which grows only in the low single digits, or nuclear, the only energy sector with a negative growth rate. Notwithstanding those facts, Ochs said criticisms of government support for renewable energy did not take into account the comparatively large cost of fossil fuel subsidies.

Continue reading »

Global – Global production of bio-fuels increased 17% last year reaching 105 billion litres

 newspaper interview  Comments Off on Global – Global production of bio-fuels increased 17% last year reaching 105 billion litres
Aug 312011



Global production of bio-fuels increased 17% in 2010 to reach an all-time high of 105 billion liters, up from 90 billion liters in 2009. US and Brazil remain the world’s leading producers of ethanol US and Brazil remain the world’s leading producers of ethanol. High oil prices, a global economic rebound and new laws and mandates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China and the US, among other countries, are all factors behind the surge in production, according to research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute’s climate and energy program for the website Vital Signs Online.

The US and Brazil remain the two largest producers of ethanol. In 2010, the US generated 49 billion liters, or 57% of global output, and Brazil produced 28 billion liters, – 33% of the total. Corn is the primary feedstock for US ethanol, and sugarcane is the dominant source of ethanol in Brazil.

“In the US, the record production of bio-fuels is attributed in part to high oil prices, which encouraged several large fuel companies, including Sunoco, Valero, Flint Hills and Murphy Oil, to enter the ethanol industry” says Alexander Ochs, director of Worldwatch’s climate and energy program.

High oil prices were also a factor inBrazil, where every third car-owner drives a “flex-fuel” vehicle that can run on either fossil or bio-based fuels. Many Brazilian drivers have switched to sugarcane ethanol because it is cheaper than gasoline. “Although the US and Brazilare the world leaders in ethanol, the largest producer of bio-diesel is the European Union, which generated 53% of all bio-diesel in 2010,” says Ochs. “However, we may see some European countries switch from bio-diesel to ethanol because a recent report from the European Commission states that ethanol crops have a higher energy content than bio-diesel crops, making them more efficient sources of fuel.”

Continue reading »

First edition of CONNECTED published!

 newsletter  Comments Off on First edition of CONNECTED published!
Feb 102011


Dear Readers,

In his 2011 State of the Union Address, President Obama set the national goal to generate 80 percent of electricity from clean energy sources by 2035; the German government recently outlined its long-term energy concept which envisions full energy import independence and a 60 percent renewable energies share by 2050; the City of San Francisco launched an initiative aiming at a 100 percent renewables supply within just a decade; and under the motto “growth with foresight,“ Hamburg, this year Europe’s green capital, shows how urban development can be both economically beneficial and environmentally sustain-able. These are only a few examples illustrating that true leadership willing to tackle the twin challenges of climate change and energy security can be found on both sides of the Atlantic.

Content_CONNECTED1_2Welcome to the first edition of CONNECTED – a newsletter discussing climate and energy from a transatlantic perspective. With CONNECTED, partners adelphi and Worldwatch, headquartered in Berlin and Washington DC, will support the Transatlantic Climate Bridge, an initiative that since its inception in 2008 has promoted numerous activities by public authorities, the private sector, civil society, and academia in order to strengthen climate protection and energy security. CONNECTED aims to showcase and review policy and research initiatives that are aimed at low-emissions development. Opinion pieces, interviews, as well as reports on studies, dialogues and conferences will provide a regular update on the progress made toward building climate-compatible economies in Europe, the United States and beyond.

[I am co-editor of CONNECTED, together with Dennis Taenzler. Please find the full first issue of CONNECTED here]

“bridges” Lecture Series 2010: Debate on Global Climate-Change Policy with Roger Pielke, Jr., David Goldston, and Alexander Ochs

 online report, presentation  Comments Off on “bridges” Lecture Series 2010: Debate on Global Climate-Change Policy with Roger Pielke, Jr., David Goldston, and Alexander Ochs
Dec 212010

bridges vol. 28, December 2010 / Noteworthy Information

The challenge of addressing climate change inspires fierce, divisive debates, pitting science against politics, environmentalism against commerce, and the most powerful nations in the world against their less-developed neighbors. Roger Pielke, Jr. , professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado , bridges columnist, and a renowned expert on science and public policy, attempts to take on this challenge. In his new book, The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming , he seeks to propose a novel, alternative way of looking for solutions for the climatic changes the earth is experiencing.


The Office of Science and Technology at the Embassy of Austria chose the occasion of the publication of this book to invite Roger Pielke, Jr., and two more experts on the issue – David Goldston and Alexander Ochs – for a debate with the audience on global climate-change policy. David Goldston is the director of Government Affairs for the Natural Resources Defense Council and previously served as chief of staff for the chairman of the US House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Science and Technology. Alexander Ochs works for Worldwatch Institute, directing its Climate and Energy Program. 

[Read the rest of the event report on the bridges website]

Low-Carbon Energy Roadmaps

 presentation  Comments Off on Low-Carbon Energy Roadmaps
Dec 022010

Presentation at Side Event of the European Climate Foundation at COP 16
EU Pavilion, Cancun, 2 December 2010


Global Primary Energy Supply by Source, 2007
Average Global Growth Rates by Energy Source, 2004-2009
World Wind Capacity, 1996-2008
World Solar PV Capacity, 1990-2009
Concentrating Solar Power (CSP), 2009
World Solar Water Heating Capacity, 1995-2007
Renewables as a Share of Electricity Generation, 1990-2008
Global Electricity from Renewables, 2002-2008
Cost of New U.S. Power Generation, 2008
CO2 Emissions per capita, select countries
Renewable Electricity in Germany, 1990 – 2007
CO2 Emissions Avoided with Renewable Energy in Germany
Wind Capacity, Top 10 Countries, 2009
Landmass vs. Wind Capacity (MW), Germany and Continental U.S. (2007)
Solar PV Production by Country/Region, 2000-2008
Solar PV Capacity, Top Six Countries, 2009
Photovoltaic Solar Resource: United States and Germany
Global Potential of Renewable Resources
Solar Potential
U.S. Electricity Generation by Source: Worldwatch Scenario 2030
Energy Transitions: 2000 – 2100
Worldwatch 5-Phase Design of Low-Carbon Growth Strategies
Worldwatch’s Energy Roadmaps
Worldwatch’s Energy Roadmaps, Example: Dominican Republic

[You can find the  full presentation here]

Nur Europa kann Can’tcun verhindern

 newspaper article  Comments Off on Nur Europa kann Can’tcun verhindern
Nov 252010
Und jährlich grüßt das Murmeltier. Der nächste Klimagipfel steht an. Jedes Jahr Ende November trifft sich die Welt, um über das Schicksal ihres Planeten zu entscheiden. Die Chairs der unterschiedlichen Arbeitsgruppen legen ihre Vertragsentwürfe vor, im Plenum versichern sich die Staaten ihres guten Willens, die Umweltorganisationen stellen ihre Forderungen, und am Ende der zwei Wochen fliegen die Umweltminister für den finalen Showdown ein und entscheiden: wenig Konkretes.

Doch ganz so einfach ist es nicht. Es geht ja doch vorwärts, wichtige Einigungen sind erzielt worden, nur eben insgesamt viel zu langsam. Um dem Klimawandel tatsächlich Einhalt zu gebieten, da ist sich die Wissenschaft weitgehend einig, darf die globale Erwärmung zwei Grad Celsius in diesem Jahrhundert nicht übersteigen. Für die Industriestaaten heißt das: Reduzierung um bis zu 90 Prozent. Noch immer ist ein Inder für weniger als ein Sechstel der Emissionen eines Durchschnittseuropäers verantwortlich. Doch der Ausstoß steigt in fast allen Ländern weiter an.

[Weiter zu meinem Gastbeitrag in der Wiener Zeitung]

From Flop’enhagen to Can’tcun? US climate policy before the mid-term elections and the UN summit

 magazine article  Comments Off on From Flop’enhagen to Can’tcun? US climate policy before the mid-term elections and the UN summit
Oct 202010
mp3 download

co2_climateIt all started so nicely. The hope for change that Barack Obama had raised among American voters was felt by citizens worldwide, including those yearning for a change in US environmental policy. After all, Obama had made global warming and energy policy important cornerstones of his campaign. Once in the White House, the newly elected President explained that “few challenges facing America – and the world – are more urgent than combating climate change” and that his “presidency will mark a new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change.” Repeatedly he stressed that “the nation that wins this competition [for new energy technologies] will be the nation that leads the global economy.”

What’s left, as we approach mid-term elections in Obama’s first administration, is a very mixed bag.  There have been important successes, including over $60 billion that were earmarked for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; the first tightening of Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency standards in three decades; and the federal Environmental Protection Agency ‘s “Endangerment Finding” that recognizes, as a follow-up of the Supreme Court ruling Massachusetts et al. vs. EPA, that the  agency  has the right to regulate greenhouse gases as air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. To the great disappointment of the environmentalists, however, comprehensive climate and energy legislation, including a market-based system with mandatory economy-wide emission targets as well as strong incentives for the employment of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy technologies, has not been passed.

The situation that has unfolded over the last 1 ½  years is almost absurd. A White House and all involved secretaries and agencies support strong climate policy; a majority of the public wants effective climate action; a thorough climate and energy bill finally passed the House; and then there is also majority support for climate legislation in the Senate – albeit this majority is not filibuster-proof. The Senate’s leadership was unable to get 60+ votes. And here the story ends for now. A minority of 40+ Senators puts a hold on domestic legislation and shuts a historic window of opportunity.

[This article appered in Bridges vol. 27, October 2010. Read the rest of the article here:]

Implications of a Low-Carbon Energy Transition for U.S. National Security

 academic article/report  Comments Off on Implications of a Low-Carbon Energy Transition for U.S. National Security
Aug 302010
Yttrium, a rare earth element
Yttrium, a rare earth element
Climate change and the secure supply of energy are among the biggest challenges of the twenty-first century. The problem is immense: While global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are still on the rise, they will have to be halved by the middle of this century in order to prevent the most dangerous effects of global warming. And while energy-related emissions are already responsible for the largest share of GHG emissions, global energy demand is estimated to rise by 50 percent or more between now and 2030.

Climate change and energy security can be seen as Siamese twins insofar as they can only be sustained with concern for one another: 80 percent of global energy supply is produced from fossil fuels which, in the United States, Europe, Japan and other important U.S. ally countries, are increasingly imported and therefore are at the core of their increasing energy dependence. The burning of fossil fuels also emits CO2, and energy-related CO2 emissions are responsible for about 60 percent of man-made climate change.

The security impacts of climate change and our dependence of fossil fuels have been much debated. It is in the national interest of the United States to address both issues vigorously. There has been little academic and political discussion, however, about the security impacts of a transition of our economy to one that is built on a low-carbon energy foundation. What are the foreseeable material input demands and what human capacities are needed for such a transition? This paper addresses these questions under a particular scenario in which the United States commits to GHG reductions as party to an international climate change agreement.

 [Please find the full version of this draft policy paper here. Comments are highly appreciated]

Will China Steal the U.S. Thunder by Launching Cap-and-Trade in the Next Five Years?

 blog  Comments Off on Will China Steal the U.S. Thunder by Launching Cap-and-Trade in the Next Five Years?
Aug 102010

By Haibing Ma and Alexander Ochs

Recently, a China Daily news report caught Uncle Sam’s attention, presumably at an inconvenient time: just when the U.S. Senate finally admitted to abandoning its plan of issuing a federal climate bill by the end of this year, top Chinese officials were discussing how to launch carbon trading programs under their country’s next Five-Year Plan (2011–15). Serving as China’s overarching social and economic guidance, Five-Year Plans consistently lay out the most crucial development strategies for this giant emerging economy. Once included in the plan, carbon trading will be viewed as part of China’s national goals and will be domestically binding. This occurred most recently with the country’s 2010 energy intensity target, which called for a 20 percent reduction from 2005 levels and was disaggregated into provincial and local targets, with local officials held accountable for achieving them. In short, China seems to be accelerating full-throttle toward a low-carbon economy.

Chinese policymakers have been eyeing a domestic emission-trading scheme for a while. Last August, Xie Zhenhua, Deputy Director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), announced that China will launch a pilot carbon trading program in selected regions and/or sectors—basically the same message conveyed in the recent China Daily story. On one hand, this reiteration demonstrates that the Chinese government is seriously considering such a market-based mitigation mechanism; on the other hand, the fact that the program’s status is still in discussion a year later shows that putting cap-and-trade into action might be not be that easy in China either. [Read more on Worldwatch’s ReVolt blog]

Bye-bye, Klimapolitik der USA

 newspaper article  Comments Off on Bye-bye, Klimapolitik der USA
Aug 052010

Kerry und Reid geben ihre Klimapolitik vorest auf

Erkennbar enttäuscht traten Harry Reid, Mehrheitsführer der Demokraten im US-Senat, und Parteikollege John Kerry, Senator aus Massachusetts und ehemaliger Präsidentschaftskandidat, vor die Kameras. Monatelang hatten sie für eine umfangreiches klima- und energiepolitisches Gesetzespaket gekämpft. Nun gaben sie kleinlaut bei. Man habe die notwendigen Stimmen nicht, um ein Emissionsziel für Treibhausgase festzulegen. 2001 aus dem Kyoto-Protokoll ausgestiegen, seit 20 Jahren der gewichtigste Bremser bei internationalen Klimaverhandlungen, zeichnet sich die nächste Schlappe für amerikanische Klimaschützer ab.

Doch nicht nur für die Umwelt ist die Nachricht eine Katastrophe. Dutzende Studien belegen die positiven Effekte, die die geplante Gesetzgebung auf die US-Wirtschaft, den Arbeitsmarkt, die Gesundheitskosten und die Sicherheitspolitik gehabt hätte. Ganz zu schweigen vom internationalen Renommee, das jetzt den nächsten Kratzer erhält. Die USA zeigen sich immer weniger in der Lage, auf die großen globalen Herausforderungen unserer Zeit tragfähige Antworten zu geben. Schuld daran ist nicht, dass „der Amerikaner“ eben nichts vom Umweltschutz hält. Das Problem ist differenzierter: [weiter zum vollstaendigen Artikel]

US-Energiepolitik: Schwarzeneggers letzte Schlacht

 newspaper article  Comments Off on US-Energiepolitik: Schwarzeneggers letzte Schlacht
Jul 232010

Zwei Öl-Konzerne wollen Kaliforniens Klimaschutzgesetz kippen – das fortschrittlichste der USA. Sie gefährden das Prestige-Projekt von Gouverneur Schwarzenegger.

Marlies Uken, DIE ZEIT, 23 July 2010

[…]Im kommenden Jahr will Kalifornien sogar im Alleingang den Handel mit Verschmutzungsrechten starten. Mehr als 70 weitere gesetzliche Klima-und Umweltschutz-Initiativen hängen von dem Gesetz ab. “Das Klimagesetz ist für die Umweltbranche Kaliforniens, einem zentralen Wachstumsmotor, von enormer Wichtigkeit”, sagt Alexander Ochs, Leiter der Klima- und Energieabteilung des Worldwatch Institutes, einem Forschungsinstitut in Washington. “Es gibt den Herstellern erneuerbarer Energien, grüner Autos und sauberer Industrieanlagen die notwendige Planungssicherheit für Investitionen im Milliardenbereich.”

Dem Umwelttechnologie-Sektor am Pazifik hat AB 32 einen Wachstumsschub verschafft, so stark wie keinem anderen Bundesstaat der USA. Mehrere Studien, unter anderem der kalifornischen Arbeitsmarktagentur, zeigen, dass gerade die Green Tech-Branche überdurchschnittlich stark wächst und Arbeitsplätze schafft. Allein in den Jahren 2007 und 2008 schaffte die Branche nach Angaben der kalifornischen Initiative “Next10” fünf Prozent mehr Jobs – während der Rest des Arbeitsmarkts im Schnitt nur um ein Prozent wuchs.

Gebannt schaut daher der Rest der USA – insbesondere Washington – auf die Entwicklungen in der Landeshauptstadt Sacramento. Denn der Zeitpunkt der Volksabstimmung ist brisant. Er fällt mit den bundesweiten midterm-elections, den Halbzeitwahlen zusammen, die klassischerweise ein Stimmungsbild für die Regierungsarbeit liefern. Präsident Obama hat nicht nur am Golf von Mexiko mit einer gigantischen Ölkatastrophe zu kämpfen, sondern will zudem sein Klimaschutzgesetz endlich durch den Senat bringen – was diesen Sommer wohl nicht mehr klappen wird. “AB 32 hat Vorbildcharakter für Washington”, sagt Ochs vom Worldwatch Institute. Würden die Kalifornier das Gesetz kippen, käme dies den Klimaschutz-Gegnern entgegen. “Die könnten sich die Hände reiben und sagen: Schaut her, selbst dort, wo die ganze grüne Industrie sitzt, wollen sie keinen Klimaschutz.” […]

Read the full article [here]